Jun 2, 2017

Behind the scenes of Trump's Paris decision

Andrew Harnik / AP

The "debate" was mostly a charade. A source who spends a lot of time with President Trump has never heard him say a positive thing about the Paris climate accord.

Ivanka Trump was optimistic to the end that she could change her father's mind.

But in retrospect, it turns out that the notion he was going to stay in the deal was always fanciful.

  • The bottom line, from Axios' Jonathan Swan: The speech Trump gave in the Rose Garden was the most full-throated expression of populist nationalism we've seen since his inauguration. This was campaign Trump, and he looked like he was loving it in the Rose Garden, with his supporters cheering his applause lines and a jazz band warming up the crowd in the sun.

Behind the scenes, from my conversations and Swan's notebook:

  • What Trump was thinking: "This is religion for the political left, and our supporters are constantly being asked to change their behavior," a top West Wing aide told me, adding that the "snarky comments" from European leaders didn't help. The aide said Trump resented the corporate critics who "ride in fossil-fuel-guzzling planes and SUVs, then act holier-than-thou."
  • The supporters: In the president's inner circle, key advocates for withdrawal included Vice President Pence; chief strategist Steve Bannon; senior adviser Kellyanne Conway; White House Counsel Don McGahn; Stephen Miller, his top speechwriter; EPA administrator Scott Pruitt; and Marc Short, his congressional liaison.
  • The withdrawal is a huge disappointment for Ivanka, who pressed hard for her father to stay in the deal. Economic adviser Gary Cohn and SecState Rex Tillerson supported her.
  • The non-profit Competitive Enterprise Institute played a big role in rallying outside conservative groups. An administration source says CEI was "the energy" and "enabled the issue to stay high profile in the White House for months." CEI marshaled a coalition letter of influential outside groups, and helped generate the letter from the 22 Republican senators — including Mitch McConnell — that gave Trump crucial ammo.

Go deeper

Fauci: Social distancing could reduce coronavirus death toll to 60,000

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Today" on Thursday that he's hopeful that social-distancing measures in place across the U.S. will reduce the total number of coronavirus deaths.

Why it matters: Fauci said that while early models projected between 100,000 and 200,000 U.S. deaths from the pandemic, he now believes that number could come down to 60,000 — but he emphasized the importance of keeping social distancing in place to ensure that trend holds.

OPEC+ and G20 energy meetings mark zero hour for oil diplomacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The next two days will be pivotal for determining whether large oil-producing countries can partially stabilize an industry reeling from very low prices and the historic, coronavirus-fueled collapse in demand.

Driving the news: The OPEC+ group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia begin meeting remotely later Thursday morning to discuss production cuts, to be followed by a virtual Friday meeting among G20 energy ministers that includes the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 1,498,833 — Total deaths: 89,733 — Total recoveries: 337,074Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 432,438 — Total deaths: 14,808 — Total recoveries: 24,125Map.
  3. Business: Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion amid coronavirus crisis — Another 6.6 million jobless claims filed last week
  4. Public health latest: The federal government is in the process of deploying 90% of its stockpiled medical equipment to fight the pandemic.
  5. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe — Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  6. Poll: 1 in 10 Americans believe economy will never return to normal from coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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